In a first for Dumfries and Galloway Council, a sniffer dog has been used to assist the authority’s Trading Standards service in the fight against illegal tobacco supplies.
In a two-day operation, Trading Standards officers, supported by Police Scotland and HMRC carried out checks at Cairnryan Ports and business premises in Dumfries to check for illegal tobacco products.
Dixie the Spaniel sniffer dog is supported by the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS).
Gordon Robb, Chair of SCOTSS said: “Dixie is proving to be a very valuable resource throughout Scotland. The sniffer dog has been trained by Stirling Council to target the scent of tobacco products and is able to assist officers in finding hidden or concealed stashes in more unusual places. Dixie and her handler recently received a well-deserved Special Commendation Award from the Anti-Counterfeiting Group.”
Councillor Colin Smyth, Chair of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee welcomed the patrols in our region. He said: “Trading standards officers are dedicated to tackling the illegal supply of tobacco and protecting the public from dangerous and harmful products.
“Far from being a victimless crime, cheap tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking, takes advantage of cash-strapped families, and helps fund organised crime. It is also often the case that people selling cheap, illegal tobacco are likely to be selling other things illegally exposing our children to more dangers, so the work Dixie is carrying out not only helps ‘sniff out’ illegal tobacco but could also potentially assists with tackling other crimes.
“The council will continue to target our resources to detect and prevent the sale of illegal and sometimes dangerous tobacco to ensure people in our communities remain safe and our young people are not exposed to dangerous products.”
The trade in illegal tobacco has strong links to organised crime and has serious consequences for health, crime and community cohesion. The council will continue to target our resources to detect and prevent the sale of illegal and sometimes dangerous tobacco to ensure people in our communities remain safe and our young people are not exposed to dangerous products.”